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Symphony X - The Odyssey CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.95 | 526 ratings

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4 stars Even though this album is not as solid as its predecessor "V: The New Mythology Suite" but I still consider this as an excellent addition to any prog music collection. As far as listening pleasure, "Odyssey" is much heavier in rhythm as well as guitar riffs which enough to give listeners feel tired due to the heavy nature and high speed of the music. Composition-wise, it's still a strong album that combines chockfull of metal guitar riffs of Michael Romeo, fast-paced keyboard work of Michael Pinella, tight bass liones of Michael LePond augmented with dynamic 'n' energetic drumming of Jason Rullo. Russel Allen performs his best singing especially during high register notes. Enjoying the first half of this album sounds like having Metallica music in prog style due to many heavy guitar riffs performed.

"Inferno" (5:32) kicks off the album with heavy rhythm music demonstrating fast tempo guitar work augmented with crispy bass lines, dynamic drumming backed with keyboard sound at the back. Russell Allen sings in clear voice with high energy. In this regard he seems singing with his own style unlike in some softer part where his voice is similar to Steve Walsh (of Kansas). "Wicked" (5:32) continues the music with high energy style combining staccato drumming and guitar riffs which remind me to the music of Dream Theater. This time Russel sings similar to Steve Walsh. Michael Romeo plays his melodic riffs during transition followed with bass and drum works. Pinella plays pulsating keyboard during interlude just before nice guitar solo shot continued again with keyboard. Right after the interlude part the music changes the style into more mellow style for a while and returns back to heavier stuff right after guitar riffs. It's a very enjoyable track.

"Incantations Of The Apprentice" (4:21) starts wonderfully in crescendo with keyboard sounds followed with heavy rhythm music augmented with Michael LePond's bass guitar solo. Jason Rullo provides his power metal double bass drum pedal in relatively fast tempo. Russell again proves himself as excellent prog met vocalist. The guitar riffs are catchy. "Accolade II" (7:06) is a natural follow-up of "Accolade" ("The Dinine Wings of Tragedy" album) in the vein of Kansas music. It starts really beautiful with a great combination of violin and piano in an excellent melody at opening part. The music flows brilliantly into higher notes with varied styles in the vein of Kansas. The combination of keyboard, guitar and violin is the strong point of this track. It's brilliantly composed track and it has become my personal favorite - as is the case with "Accolade" (the first segue from The Divine Wings of Tragedy album).

"King Of Terrors" (6:19) is a full metal blast music with heavy guitar riffs and little prog components in it. For those who are familiar with the kind of Metallica music might enjoy this track. The following track "The Turning" (4:44) continues with metal music exploration with rough guitar riffs. "Awakenings" (8:21) provides a kind of break for my ears because it starts with an ambient music exploring long sustain keyboard, piano followed with drumming and guitar solo. Yep! When vocal enters the music, it's representing the style of Kansas music with touchy piano work at background. The music flows into heavier part with more metal music as characterized by heavy guitar riffs and solo.

The album title track "The Odyssey" (24:09) comprises seven parts. Structurally it reminds us to Dream Theater's "Six Degree of Inner Turbulence" because it blows with grandiose full orchestra throughout the span of this epic track. Conceptually, the composition is quite confusing as we, the listeners, do not exactly know on what the band is trying to achieve with this epic. The combination of acoustic guitar with vocal right after the Overture is really nice. The epic offers relatively complex combination of guitar and keyboard works especially during interlude part. Overall, I'm quite OK with this track as generally I enjoy long duration track not because of the duration itself but I kind like imagine how tough the musicians composed such a long track. It's a kind of my deep appreciation to prog musicians. According to the liner note, the opening orchestration was done by Romeo.

My CD is a limited edition one (with external cardboard sleeve) with bonus track "Masquarade" which is an excellent track. I love the cover artwork - it's fantastic - by Tom Thiel @ Illuvision. Because it's limited edition there is a full review of each track by members of the band. This is what I like about owning a limited edition package - I got a full picture of how the album was made and the backgrounds that built an album. Of course, my above review was totally "my perception" and nothing was taken from the band members' words.

Heavier than previous album, but I still recommend you to have it, especially if you can accept heavy riffs metal music. It's too rough for my ears but it's still an excellent album. It's not fully symphonic unless the epic track Odyssey. Keep on proggin' ..

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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